Funded Projects

RURAL COLLEGE SUMMIT AWARDS: $13,110 to Create 12 College Summits

TCASN is proud to announce the recipients of the 2013 Rural College Summit Competition:

Fentress County School District

Greene County School District (2)

Hardeman County Schools

Lexington High School

McNairy County Board of Education

Morgan County Schools

Springfield High School (2)

Union County High Schools

Wayne County Schools (2)

Read the full news release HERE.




Bradley County Schools - $38,199: (2,000 students/3,000 family members)

Bradley County Schools, located in rural southeast Tennessee, serves a predominately at-risk student population with over 75 percent of its students coming from an economically disadvantaged background. The district will create ACCESS – Advancing College and Career Preparation to Ensure Success for all Students. Bradley will implement the College Board SpringBoard English/Language Arts Curriculum, which provides activities designed to engage students in problem solving, academic discourse and critical analysis. The school system will also provide comprehensive training for teachers to ensure fidelity of SpringBoard’s implementation. As a result, students will be better prepared to take the PLAN, ACT, and EOC assessments.

 As part of the ACCESS program, Bradley will take group college visits, targeting students who would otherwise lack the parental support to visit a college campus. Bradley will work with area colleges and univerities to offer on-campus experiences to promote college access beginning in the 6th grade.

Clarksville Montgomery County School System - $40,000: (150 students/50 family members)

The Connections to College and Career Readiness project will target skill-development to prepare students for college-level coursework and provide students at Middle College at Austin Peay State University and the STEM Academy at Kenwood High School with the opportunity to gain college credit while still in high school. The program will focus on developing academic and test-taking skills through strategic remediation and greater opportunities to participate in Advance Placement courses. TCASN funding will also expand opportunities for dual enrollment courses among students who are traditionally underrepresented in college: first generation college students, economically disadvantaged students, minority students, and females completing science and math college and career tracks.

CMCSS will partner with Austin Peay State University and Nashville State Community College to provide courses that match students’ interests. A focused structure for supporting students who participate in dual enrollment will include tutoring and mentoring, expanding the opportunity that the student will experience success within dual enrollment. Supports for parents and guardians addressing concerns on how the best can assist their child in school and how to successfully access these opportunities will also be provided.

LEAD Public Schools - $40,000: (275 students/138 family members)

LEAD Academy was founded in 2007 as a public school option in Nashville that graduates students prepared for acceptance to and matriculation through college. TCASN funding will support a full-time, on-site College Counseling Department and the “College Corner”. The College Corner will be a dedicated physical space on LEAD Academy’s campus with resources used specifically by the College Counseling Department. At the Corner, students and families will work on college admission applications and materials with the assistance of LEAD faculty members. The Corner will operate during the school day, after hours, and on weekends to encourage and allow family participation. The Corner will feature workspaces outfitted with computers and printers for research and the completion of application materials. TCASN support will also be used to broaden the reach of the first LEAD College Summit, “college fair turned on its head” where students man individual booths and present portfolios of achievement to admissions counselors.

Martha O'Bryan Center - $33,000: (50 students/50 family members)

MOBC’s Post-Secondary Success Initiative serves underrepresented, first generation college students from the Stratford Cluster of East Nashville, addressing key academic and socio-emotional supports necessary to bridge the gaps from high school to college to graduation. The Cohort Support project will strengthen MOBC’s work with students through additional mentoring and materials, while laying the groundwork for a co-locational model of service. For this project, MOBC will assign one mentor to a cohort of 50 students in attendance at Nashville State Community College and Tennessee State University.  The Cohort Support mentor will work on specific student needs, ranging from arranging developmental tutoring in math and reading to helping students navigate college resources.

Meigs County High School - $40,000: (820 students/820 parents)

Meigs County Schools are located in rural Southeast Tennessee. Despite boasting high graduation rates, the postsecondary enrollment rates are well below state averages. Meigs will provide college visits, dual enrollment course financial assistance, during-the-day tutoring services, and mentoring and college counseling to meet the specific needs of first-generation, low-income students and their parents, assisting them through each step of the college-going process. Meigs will cater to the targeted population in every aspect and provide for their individual needs.

Milan Special School District - $40,000: (2,200 students/4,000 parents)

Milan Special School District, located in rural Northwest Tennessee, recently appointed a veteran senior high school counselor to the position of college access counselor, demonstrating the district’s commitment to increasing college access and success. In 2012, MSSD received a TCASN Catalyst Grant to develop a strategic plan for its newly created College Access Program. TCASN funding will help reach several goals from the strategic plan that remain unmet, including staffing for the college access office and maintaining a tracking system to accurately follow graduates. Funds will also be used to increase sessions with parents, provide transportation services to students and provide professional development for all K-12 teachers that highlights the need for all community members to understand the connection between academic achievement, individualizing for diverse learners, and the long-term outcome - college and career planning for life after high school.

Oasis Center- $21,399: (100 students/15 family members)

Oasis Center’s Oasis College Connection program provides college retention and success services to low-income, first generation youth attending Nashville State Community College through The Oasis Resource Center. Oasis will continue their existing essential support services for these students and add facilitated discussions around applied employer skills, pulling from the expertise of subject matter experts -the local workforce investment board, and relating the discussions to “real-life” situations. Students will engage in discussion, share with their peers what works and what doesn’t work. Students will contribute to content by recommending topics. Discussions will be facilitated by a social worker to ensure students stay on topic and discussions are relevant to the skills being studied. Participation in these activities will “put students ahead of the game” in searching for employment, and will provide them with language skills to better their resumes and interviewing skills.

Pellissippi State Community College - $37,982: (420 students/100 family members)

Nationwide more than 88 percent of student veterans leave college by the end of their second semester, and only 3 percent graduate. Pellissippi State serves more than 500 veteran students per year using the GI Bill. This number represents 5 percent of the college’s population and is the fourth largest student veteran population in Tennessee. Pellissippi State will use TCASN funding to establish a Veteran Success Center where veteran students can access needed advising, counseling, and financial aid services as well as relax and study with one another in a comfortable environment. The ‘one-stop’ philosophy is designed to serve veterans, active duty or reserve personnel and family members by providing access to cross-functional support in one location. TCASN funding will help provide mentors and other support staff, computers, a lounge area, and supplies for ongoing events and workshops.

Scotts Hill High School - $34,997: (225 students/225 parents)

Scotts Hill HS serves the rural, southern region of Henderson County. Scotts Hill will use funding to provide support and assistance to students who otherwise would not financially be able to enroll in dual-enrollment. Students will receive assistance after completing an ACT intervention course during their junior year and the AVID college readiness system during their senior year. Increased dual enrollment access to Scott’s Hill rural students will help ensure that graduates are academically prepared to succeed in college and lessen their financial burden once they matriculate.

Southern Word, Inc. - $20,000: (5,600 students/4,800 family members)

Southern Word will use TCASN funding to create writer-mentor support for spoken word groups and events at one community college and one four year middle Tennessee public university, the continuation of an inter-university spoken word and hip hop performance troupe with representatives from Middle Tennessee partner schools, and the documentation and digital distribution of performance pieces. This support will allow Southern Word to continue strengthening partnerships between its K-12 programs and college spoken word activity. As Southern Word continues to develop leading young artists, it is crucial that they see college’s role in the continuation of their artistic development, the growing of their audience, access to financial opportunity, and long-term professional stability.

Southwest Tennessee Development District - $39,989: (2,200 students/4,000 family members)

SWTDD is charged with providing comprehensive planning, promoting economic, community, and human resource development for 11 rural Southwest Tennessee counties. REDI's College Access Program serves 19 high schools and approximately 1700 students in Southwest Tennessee. REDI will use grant funds to create 11 "R U REDI" College Access Centers students can use to search colleges/careers/ scholarships, take test prep, and complete admissions and financial aid applications. REDI mentors will use the centers for one-on-one time with students, and families can use the space to confidentially complete their FAFSAs and receive counsel from their student’s mentor.

Volunteer State Community College - $26,860: (150 students/50 family members)

Volunteer State Community College is a public, equal opportunity, two-year community college in Gallatin, Tennessee that is serving a growing adult learner population. Prior to enrolling in credit-bearing courses, a group of nontraditional students who, due to academic need, are required to take developmental courses, will be selected to participate in a week-long, strengths-based, preparatory boot camp. Students will be chosen by either a faculty or staff member who identified them as “students of potential” and believes with a little preparation, they can be highly successful in college. The program will use Supplemental Instruction, a highly successful VSCC program founded on peer-facilitated student learning. The boot camp will be offered with one group from the main campus and one group from the Livingston campus before fall, spring, and summer classes for a total of 150 students.


2012 TCASN Grants

Thank you to all who participated in the Network's second annual grants competition. We received 42 grant proposals from across the state; the 18 winning project proposals will serve more than 22,200 students and families.

SEED GRANT (two-year stepped, recurring funding)

Franklin County Schools: $130,000 (1,400 students/300 parents)

The TCASN Seed Grant will move Franklin County Schools toward achieving its long-range goal of increasing its current college-going rate from 42 percent to 52 percent by 2016. In the two years of the TCASN Grant, FCS will use a three-tiered approach focused on raising college awareness, increasing college aspirations, and assisting with affordability. FCS will hire a postsecondary coach to organize community events to share postsecondary-going information such as saving, preparing, and planning with families of students in grades three through twelve. The grant will allow FCS to offer a new online course through Motlow State Community College; implement an outreach campaign that includes community presentations and collateral materials; establish an after-school club/internship for postsecondary-seeking student leaders; host a Journey-to-Careers Fair that charts the high school and postsecondary education and/or training needed to secure a range of careers; and provide mock college-admission interviews.


Bridging the Math Divide: McMinn, Meigs, Monroe and Polk County Schools: $40,000 (200 students)

In partnership with Cleveland State Community College, this project will redesign the 4th-year high school math bridge course for students who have not yet demonstrated college readiness and have an ACT score of 19 or below at the end of their Junior Year. This project will introduce a redesigned methodology into high school classrooms while providing curriculum for the 4th-year high school bridge math course.

Chattanooga Public Education Foundation – PEF: $40,000 (80 students)

PEF is an independent, non-profit, community-based organization that for nearly twenty-five years has worked in partnership with Hamilton County Schools. The TCASN grant will enhance SOAR – Student Opportunities, Access and Retention – by adding a mentor and cohort support structure. These support structures will help increase the persistence and success rates of SOAR students attaining a four-year degree.  In spring 2011, PEF launched SOAR with funds from the Tennessee Higher Education Commission. SOAR aims to boost college completion rates for Hamilton County students who enroll in Chattanooga State Community College (ChSCC) with plans to move on to the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (UTC) for completion of a 4-year bachelor’s degree. 

Kingsbury High School: $40,000 (360 students)

Kingsbury High School serves more Hispanic/Latino students than any other Memphis high school. In partnership with THEC, the Lumina Foundation and Latino Memphis, Kingsbury is part of the Memphis Latino College Mentor Corps (Memphis CMC). The TCASN grant will support the following activities: financial aid workshops for Spanish-speaking Hispanic/Latino families; development and delivery of a locally relevant database of scholarship opportunities; assistance to individuals retaking the ACT and submitting college applications; college-approved graphing calculators for students matched with tutors/mentors; a college textbook lending library, attendance of career-related High School Day activities at Southwest Community College or enrollment assistance in Southwest classes for Fall 2013; and an in-state West Tennessee college tour for students and parents.

Martha O’Bryan Center: $40,000 (340 students)

The Martha O’Bryan Center’s Top Floor program serves low-income/first-generation youth at Stratford High School (Nashville). The TCASN Model Program Grant will help fund a high school transitional case manager, college campus visits, and college application fees for eligible students. Additionally, many students are unable to fully access the services of Top Floor, which operates from 2 to 7 p.m., due to transportation barriers. Through TCASN funding, Top Floor will offer twilight bus services to participating students.

Meigs County Schools’ College Access Program: $40,000 (840 students)

Meigs County Schools are located in rural Southeast Tennessee. Despite boasting high graduation rates, the postsecondary enrollment rates have been well below state averages. The college access program will provide students with the crucial information and experiences needed to understand the importance of postsecondary education. The program will work with students in grades 5-12 to increase student ACT scores and other college-readiness benchmarks, increase the number of students participating in campus tours, and increase the number of students applying to college and completing the FAFSA.

Oasis Center: $40,000 (140 students)

Oasis Center’s Oasis College Connection program (Nashville) will provide additional college retention and success services to low-income first generation youth attending Nashville State Community College. Over the last three years, the Oasis College Connection has developed and expanded college access programming into 15 Metro Nashville public high schools and to Nashville State Community College. The work at NSCC has been limited to 100 students due to intensive 1:1 mentoring that focuses on persistence, retention, and completion. With this grant, Oasis College Connection will expand its services to include more students and further address postsecondary attainment barriers affecting first-generation/low-income students.

tnAchieves: $40,000 (7,088 students)

tnAchieves provides last dollar scholarships for community college and volunteer college mentors to 33 school districts, 126 high schools, nine of the 13 community colleges and two technology centers in 23 counties. tnAchieves will use TCASN support to develop more structured supports for college student retention by incorporating group meetings with college students, community service projects, ambassador programs at each college campus, and individual student progress meetings. Because tnAchieves has increased from working within three post-secondary institutions to eleven, TCASN funding will also help hire a part-time college success coordinator.


Crockett County High School: $15,000 (778 students)

TCASN funds will support the purchase of a small computer lab for Crockett County High School’s school counseling office.  Students will be able to use the computers before, during and after school to research careers and colleges; complete college applications, scholarships and financial aid forms (FAFSA); apply for ACT Testing; and participate in ACT prep work and tutoring.

East End Prep Academy: $15,000 (220 students)

East End Prep Academy is a charter elementary school located in East Nashville. East End Prep’s local high school reports that 54 percent of its student body is at basic or below basic proficiency for reading/languages. TCASN funding will be used to purchase the STEP (Student Tracking, Evaluation and Portfolio System) assessment program, a comprehensive software package that is widely regarded as the most effective and efficient industry tool for assessing literacy among students.

Franklin County School District: $15,000 (950 students)

Franklin County School District will use TCASN funding to conduct a gap analysis to identify specific barriers preventing its students from pursuing or persisting in education/training after high school. The gap analysis will enable the FCS’s postsecondary coach to better tailor and create evidence-based interventions.

Knox County Schools: $15,000 (2,668 students)

TCASN funding will be used send additional teachers and leaders to professional development training at the AVID Summer Institute. AVID trains educators how to use college readiness learning methodologies, teaching strategies and best practices in all classes across a school site. In this way, every student learns the critical thinking, study skills, and critical reading and writing skills needed to achieve success in higher education and career paths.

MadisonAchieves: $15,000 (1,100 students)

MadisonAchieves will work with Jackson State Community College and the Jackson-Madison County School System to provide opportunities for academic remediation during high school and prior to college enrollment. With this grant, many students who would otherwise enter college facing the barrier of remediation may, instead, enroll in “for credit” classes.

 Martha O’Bryan Center: $15,000 (30 students)

TCASN funding will be used to pilot the Martha O'Bryan Postsecondary Boot Camp, which aims to reduce the number of postsecondary students needing remedial coursework. The program will meet four days a week during June 2013, and will expand upon Top Floor services by providing a bridge between high school and college.

Memphis Academy of Science and Engineering (MASE): $15,000 (30 students)

MASE, a charter high school located in Memphis, serves a community with an 85 percent poverty rate. TCASN funding will be used to pilot a college interest and awareness program that provides 9th grade students with a series of on-campus college visits and tours.

Southern Word: $15,000 (4,000 students)

Inspired by University of Wisconsin – Madison’s First Wave Spoken Word and Urban Arts Learning Community, a postsecondary retention program that offers students the opportunity to live, study, and create together, Southern Word will use TCASN funding to create an inter-university spoken word and hip hop performance troupe. The troupe, consisting of at least eight representatives from various Middle Tennessee higher education institutions, will conduct at least ten performances at Tennessee high schools and middle schools and will make the performances available online for in-class viewings.  

Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition (TIRRC): $15,000 (2,000 students)

TCASN funding will support the STUDY Foundation (Scholars in Tennessee Uplifting the Dreams of Youth), a project launched by TIRRC’s youth leaders in 2010 to provide immigrant students with the tools to stay in school, go to college, and develop their skills as leaders. Funds will be used create a college access guide with information that specifically speaks to immigrant students from different cultural backgrounds and different regions of the state. The guide will be translated into Spanish and two other languages.

Wright Middle School: $15,000 (50 students)

The grant allows for the creation of an academic element, "Reallife University, A Summer Adventure" to the Coleman summer program. Reallife University provides students the opportunity to connect academics with “real-life” experiences through a career and life skills simulation event.



SEED GRANTS (three-year stepped, recurring funding)

Bradley County Schools:  $163,185 (2,018 students)

Bradley County Schools, located in rural southeast Tennessee, serves a predominately at-risk student population with over 75 percent of its students coming from an economically disadvantaged background.  The district plans to create college planning seminars for high school juniors that will take place on a college campus, offer ACT prep classes and ACT teacher professional development training, expand college visits that will include parent visits, pay for one college application fee, produce a quarterly career/college newsletter, develop college access events for students and parents, and create 8th grade transition workshops that focus on developing college aspirations, the middle-to-high school transition, and study-skills.

Hamilton High School (Memphis City Schools): $170,000 (927 students)

Hamilton High School, located in South Memphis, serves a predominately African-American community with over 90 percent of its students identified as economically disadvantaged. Hamilton plans to develop a year-long college readiness program for all of its 9th graders, host a senior seminar, pay for one college application fee, develop peer groups, offer ACT prep courses and FAFSA assistance, provide additional tutoring support, and offer college developmental courses to help reduce remedial coursework in postsecondary education. The school will also host monthly student/parent seminars to create a college-going culture for students and their families in order to ease the transition to postsecondary education.

Metro Nashville Public Schools: $167,720 (1,729 students)

Metro Nashville Public Schools (MNPS) plans to focus its project on two high schools: Pearl Cohn and Maplewood.  Pearl Cohn and Maplewood serve predominately African-American communities and over 85 percent of the students are economically disadvantaged. MNPS will assess the college access needs of both schools by developing a task force composed of teachers, counselors, students, administrators, parents/caregivers, district leaders, and community partners. Upon completion of the need analysis, the task force will identify community organizations that offer resources and programs that can help meet the identified needs and strengthen the college-going cultures in these two schools. In the third year, the project will expand to two additional high schools.


Union County Board of Education: $38,700 (821 students)

Union County, located north of Knoxville in rural Tennessee, will use TCASN funding to continue and enhance college access and success programs and services initiated through a federal GEAR UP grant that ended June 2011. Sixty percent of Union County High School’s student population is identified as economically disadvantaged. Through its Model Program Grant, the school plans to offer student achievement workshops, financial aid and college transitions workshops, college adventure nights, college visits, and a summer bridge program.

University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Educational Opportunity Center: $39,996 (1,000 students)

UTC Educational Opportunity Center, a federally funded TRIO college access program, serves first generation, low-income students in Hamilton, Marion, Sequatchie, Bledsoe, and Grundy counties. TCASN funding will be used to expand current services and provide targeted services to homeless youth, youth in foster care, and military connected families. Additionally, recent federal budget cuts have limited the staff’s ability to travel to the outlying communities it serves, but through the Model Program Grant UTC EOC will be able to continue to provide college access services to these areas.

Memphis City Schools – Trezevant Career and Technology Center:  $40,000 (40 students/40 families)

The Summer Health Science Institute, in an effort to help meet the workforce needs of the health sciences employment sector, will expand its enrollment to include freshmen and sophomore students interested in health careers who do not meet the current entrance requirement of a 3.0 or higher grade point average.  Freshman will take high school credited courses in health science education and rising sophomores will take courses in forensics. Academic supports, enhanced classrooms, and mentors will be provided to students. Additionally, students will visit postsecondary education institutions, focusing on college awareness, college options, and the college-going process.


In Full Motion: $15,000 (600 students/150 parents)

In Full Motion, Inc. (IFM), located in Nashville, provides academic tutoring, mentoring, leadership and college preparation to at-risk youth who have the hopes and dreams of becoming productive citizens. IFM will use TCASN funding to purchase an online tool that will improve the organization’s data tracking and program evaluations, resulting in better documentation of program effectiveness and success.

Perry County School District: $13,508 (364 students)

Seventy-one percent of Perry County School District, located in rural South Central Tennessee, is considered economically disadvantaged. The district plans to purchase the Cambridge ACT Prep Classroom Package and a mobile computer lab to help raise student ACT scores and reduce the number of graduates taking remedial courses.

Brainerd High School: $9,847 (293 students)

Brainerd High School, compared to other public schools of Hamilton County, has one of the highest indexes of poverty, the highest dropout rates, the lowest college enrollment rates, and the lowest ACT scores. TCASN funding will help provide new technology in the school’s college resource room and an updated set of ACT study guides.

White County High School: $14,984 (1,250 students)

Located in Sparta and serving as the only high school in the county, White County High School has a college-going rate of 44 percent. WCHS will purchase a mobile learning lab and a library of apps tailored to help increase the college-going rate and smooth the transitional pathway. This customized technology will allow WCHS to provide an individualized learning environment to all students, while also meeting professional development needs of teachers. Additionally, teachers plan to use the lab to mesh curriculum between academic and career-technical education classes.

Milan Special School District: $15,000 (2,259 students)

Milan Special School District is one of five school districts in Gibson County, located in rural Northwest Tennessee. MSSD recently appointed a veteran senior high school counselor to the position of college access counselor, demonstrating the district’s commitment to increasing college access and success. MSSD plans to use TCASN funding to develop a strategic plan of operation for its newly created College Access Program. The strategic plan will include, but is not limited to, the identification of stakeholders and partners in the community, the development of a policies and procedures of operation manual, the collection and analysis of data, and the creation of a sustainability plan.


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